Rice’s second volume on the life of Christ focuses on the time period immediately before He begins His ministry in Judea. The primary biblical events she includes are His baptism by John, His fasting and temptations in the wilderness, the calling of His first few apostles, and the marriage in Cana.
As in the first book, she does not go out on any theological limbs. She does take some literary license with the order of these (and a few other) events, but she makes no direct doctrinal statements; rather, she uses first-person prose to let the reader see life through Jesus’ eyes.
In contrast to the first book, there are some underlying conflicts and a couple of subplots that make this volume more interesting and engaging than the first one. She introduces a few unique characters as well, all of whom play background roles in the larger picture of life in Nazareth before Jesus is well known.
Some readers may find her subtle references to homosexual behavior to be objectionable. I found them to be merely pointless, almost as though they were included more for shock value; they certainly did not contribute to any of the plots. Other readers may be surprised at her portrayal of Jesus as a mostly regular member of the community, and still not really sure about His mission on earth. In many instances, it seems as though she is being deliberately cautious when relating the more important points of the story, as though she is more concerned about offending a reader’s belief than she is about presenting her own beliefs of how these things occurred.
Rated: None. Although same-gender attraction is presented in a few places, it is very subtle and never directly stated as such.